Scotland

Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini to step down

Elish Angiolini
Image caption Elish Angiolini was the first woman to become lord advocate

Scotland's senior law officer has announced that she plans to step down from the post at next year's Holyrood election.

Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini has held the job for four years.

She was originally appointed by the Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition, but was asked by the incoming SNP government to remain in office.

Ms Angiolini was the first woman to become lord advocate and was the first solicitor to hold the post.

She has been at the centre of a series of high-profile cases, and has made the reform of rape law, in an effort to increase the conviction rate, a central theme of her time in office.

The lord advocate, assisted by the solicitor general, heads the country's system of criminal prosecution and leads the investigation of deaths.

Ms Angiolini announced her plans to retire at a sexual offences conference in Glasgow.

She said: "I can think of no more fitting occasion than this conference to announce that I will stand down from office at the next election, and to thank those who work tirelessly to achieve improvements in the criminal justice system for their dedication and skill.

"This last decade has been a time of great change for the Scottish prosecution system, during which we have worked with other agencies across disciplines to build a justice system which better serves victims and witnesses, and deals more effectively with serious crime.

"I hope we have formed a strong foundation on which we can continue to build in the months and years ahead."

'Substantial loss'

Paying tribute to Ms Angiolini's time as law officer, First Minister Alex Salmond said: "Among her many achievements are reform of the courts system, and a much-needed new approach to tackling sexual crime.

"Under her leadership, recorded crime has dropped to a 32-year low in Scotland, and citizens fear crime significantly less than they did when she took office.

"She will be a substantial loss to government after next year, but her positive legacy will be long and lasting. I wish her well in her future career."

Elish Angiolini grew up in Govan in Glasgow and studied law at the University of Strathclyde.

Immediately after graduation in 1982, she joined the crown office and procurator fiscal service and, following her traineeship, spent eight years as a depute procurator fiscal in Airdrie, prosecuting in Airdrie Sheriff Court.

In 2000, Ms Angiolini was appointed as regional procurator fiscal for Grampian and the Highlands and Islands based in Aberdeen.

She was the first woman to hold such a post.

She was installed as solicitor general for Scotland on 5 December 2001 - again the first woman, the first procurator fiscal and the first solicitor to hold the post.

She was installed as lord advocate on 12 October 2006

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